More Accidents Occur When Clocks Are Changed to Standard TimeNovember 27, 2017 | Category: Automobile Accidents | Share
Daylight savings time (DST) has ended, and we have set our clocks back an hour to standard time. This time change continues to be disruptive to our sleep long after the actual changing of the clocks. An October 24th online edition of Current Biology says German researchers have found that the internal body clock never really adjusts to the time change.
The biggest negative effect of daylight savings time is the increased risk of traffic accidents.
Many believe that daylight savings time originated because farmers needed extra daylight time for planting crops. In reality, it originated during World War I in Germany to save energy for the war effort. Benjamin Franklin suggested the idea in America in 1784 as a way to economize on sunlight and burn fewer candles during winter mornings and nights. America adopted daylight savings time by law under the Uniform Time Act in 1966 with the same intention of saving energy.
Is there a correlation between time changes and an increase in traffic accidents?
The New York Times published an article in 2014 reporting that Swedish researchers found a 5 percent increase in the risk of heart attacks right after DST began, along with an increase in traffic accidents, workplace injuries and suicide rates.
There are some U.S. police departments which say that there is approximately a 10 percent increase in crashes after the time change.
The study, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Savings Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes” by Austin C. Smith at the University of Colorado Boulder, reported that in the first six days of daylight saving time there were 302 deaths at a cost of $2.75 billion over a 10-year period.
How can DST cause an increase in traffic accidents?
Livescience.com says that the subtle changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms can alter human alertness and, in some cases, might increase the risk of potentially fatal car accidents. When the clocks change, sleep cycles are interrupted, and people tend to be drowsy.
More people are active during the evening, including children, and the loss of sunlight that occurs with DST leaves drivers with less visibility to see pedestrians.
In addition to leading to poor visibility in darkness, some experts, according to Time.com, say the requirement for people to abruptly adapt to a time change overnight may lead to dangerous driving. “Even though it’s dark, you’re still behaving like it’s light,” said Lawrence University economist David Gerard, of the first weeks after a time change. People may drive faster, he said, and pedestrians may be less attentive.
When there is a lack of sleep, drowsy driving incidents increase. Also, longer evening hours allow more time for alcohol consumption. Longer periods of darkness create poor visibility. All three combined, or in any combination, lead to an impaired ability to drive.
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Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.